Read Romans 13:11-14
There used to be a time when the only light available at night came from candles or oil lamps. Night-time then was full of mysterious, threatening airs. When I was a member of the Scouts, I used to go camping in the forest. Gathered around the campfire, we felt fine. But as soon as we moved away, the gathering darkness scared us. We were happy to have companions under the tent. Once, I had to sleep all alone and it sure took me a while to fall asleep.
Such night-time is a time of terrible loneliness. Unable to see beyond the radius of the light from the candle, I feel the world closing in on itself, reducing itself to the limit of my eyesight. I feel isolated, alone, cut off from everyone. The world consists only of my thoughts, my feelings, my fantasies, my passions… I become the centre of my world.
Such night-time is a time of criminal activity. Darkness hides all kinds of vices and violence. Since none can see what others are doing, all feel free to do things they would never do in the light of the day. Nothing, no one is there to put a limit on my passions. It’s the time for armed robbery, for arson, for murder. Once the sun has gone down, no one goes out alone.
Such-night time is full of lies. Pleasure is promised, yet joy is slain. Power is promised, but vitality is sapped. The world is promised, but all is lost. We wake up sad, tired and alone.
Such night-time is symbolic of a way of being which, in fact, impedes us from truly being. Saint Paul tells us that Christ came to take us out of this night of strange and frightening dreams. Christ is the light that shines in the depth of night, the One who carries light to the heart of darkness, so that our eyes might be open to reality and help us see, right next to us, those brothers and sisters who stand with open arms.
Such night-time must be left behind. We are called to believe in the dawn, to walk towards the day, to live under the sun. During these first weeks of Advent, let us contemplate each little coloured light that shines in our trees and around our houses. Let us see in them a reminder, a sign of this great truth: Christ came to free us from darkness and make us live in the light. Let us journey towards Christmas as we walk into the light of day.